Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aftershocking: Frontline’s Fukushima Doc a Lazy Apologia for the Nuclear Industry

Despite disasters risk in nuclear energy lowest: Kakodkar

Despite disasters risk in nuclear energy lowest: Kakodkar

PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 21,2012 Bangalore, Jan 21 (PTI) Notwithstanding disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, risk in nuclear energy is the lowest, eminent nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar said today. "Despite disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, risk in nuclear energy is the least. Climate change could be bigger than a nuclear bomb," Kakodkar, Homi Bhabha Chair Professor at BARC, said delivering a lecture on 'Sustainable Energy Security for India: Challenges and Options' organised by the IISc here.

How Fukushima Has Changed Nuclear Power in Japan

How Fukushima Has Changed Nuclear Power in Japan

Judge’s decision in Vermont Yankee case raises questions about the efficacy of an appeal

Judge’s decision in Vermont Yankee case raises questions about the efficacy of an appeal

Vermont Yankee foes ponder next moves

Vermont Yankee foes ponder next moves

Emerging United States: Nuclear Energy Picking Up Momentum

United States: Nuclear Energy Picking Up Momentum

State of Utah Approves Use of Water Rights for Blue Castle Nuclear Plant Project

State of Utah Approves Use of Water Rights for Blue Castle Nuclear Plant Project

Planned Utah nuclear project receives water rights from state

 Planned Utah nuclear project receives water rights from state

Ruling passed, but continued operation not done deal By JOSH STILTS / Reformer Staff

TEPCO left backup power for nuclear data equipment detached for 4 months

TEPCO left backup power for nuclear data equipment detached for 4 months

Meltdown at Hamaoka plant certain if power supply knocked out for 3 days

Meltdown at Hamaoka plant certain if power supply knocked out for 3 days

New Legal Challenge to UK Nuclear Power Expansion Plans

New Legal Challenge to UK Nuclear Power Expansion Plans

ETF Center Is Nuclear Power Safe Yet?

Is Nuclear Power Safe Yet?

Cleaner and safer Nuclear Power Plants with Thorium

Cleaner and safer Nuclear Power Plants with Thorium

Supporters of nuclear energy development face off with antinuclear activists in Gaffney, SC

Supporters of nuclear energy development face off with antinuclear activists in Gaffney, SC

Friday, January 20, 2012

A brief summary of the Vermont Yankee decision

A brief summary of the Vermont Yankee decision

A disclaimer: I am not a lawyer (although I play one on TV the internet); I do hold a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering however and have at least some basic ability to read indecipherable tomes. End disclaimer

Full agenda for National Nuclear Science Week 2012

Full agenda for National Nuclear Science Week 2012

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes A win for Vermont Yankee

 

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes

A win for Vermont Yankee

Federal District Court rules against efforts by the State of Vermont to assert regulatory authority over radiological safety issues

Blog Post: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

Blog Post: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

Avoiding a Natural Gas Bridge to Nowhere

By Jesse Jenkins, January 20, 2012
Just as the history of unconventional natural gas production in America was fundamentally shaped by government support for new technology development, so too will the future of natural gas depend on America's willingness to make long-term public investments in advanced energy technologies. A convenient narrative has taken hold concerning the development of unconventional gas extraction from shale...  » Continue...

Vermont Yankee Lives to Power Another Day

Vermont Yankee Lives to Power Another Day

Spain May Extend Garona Nuclear Plant's Life Until 2019

Spain May Extend Garona Nuclear Plant's Life Until 2019

Japan turns to endoscope to inspect leaking reactor

Japan turns to endoscope to inspect leaking reactor

Japan Girds for Summer Power Cuts

Japan Girds for Summer Power Cuts

Report Says Radiation Exposure Was Preventable

Report Says Radiation Exposure Was Preventable

Federal judge rules Vermont’s only nuclear plant can remain open, over state’s objection

Federal judge rules Vermont’s only nuclear plant can remain open, over state’s objection

Help Next-Generation Nuclear Power Advance During Long Building Lull: View

Help Next-Generation Nuclear Power Advance During Long Building Lull: View

Small Is Beautiful—So Go Nuclear

Small Is Beautiful—So Go Nuclear

As environmentally friendly as they sound, biofuels and wind power squander land and other resources.

The Future of Oil & Gas: Exploring New Innovation in Old-Fashioned Energy

The Future of Oil & Gas:
Exploring New Innovation in Old-Fashioned Energy

Sustainable Business ForumLive, Free Webcast from
The Energy Collective
January 27, 12 PM ET / 9 AM PT
While renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels experience unprecedented levels of growth and attention, projections confirm that fossil fuels such as oil and gas will continue to make up large parts of our energy mix for quite some time to come. With that in mind, it's important to ask: What significant innovations, if any, are taking place within oil & gas to tackle energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, or otherwise improve the impact of those fuels? What more needs to be done?

Join us as we ask our expert panel:
  • Which factors could have the largest impacts on whether oil and gas remain so prominent or whether they are replaced with other fuel sources?
  • Where in the fuel lifecycle do significant carbon emissions occur from oil and gas?
  • Can innovation make meaningful impacts, in the context of the global carbon picture and concern over climate change?
  • What are the most promising fuel competitors to oil and gas?
Join us for this live webinar » to explore what can and is being done to improve sustainability in oil and gas.
FEATURING...
Geoffrey Styles is Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm. His industry experience includes 22 years at Texaco Inc., culminating in a senior position on Texaco’s leadership team for strategy development, focused on the global refining, marketing, transportation and alternative energy businesses, and global issues such as climate change. Previously he held senior positions in alliance management, planning, supply & distribution, and risk management. His "Energy Outlook" blog has been quoted frequently by the Wall Street Journal and was named one of the “Top 50 Eco Blogs” by the Times of London.
Terrance Ivers is CEO of the Compression and Solutions Business Unit of the Oil & Gas Division at Siemens Energy, based in Houston, Texas. Terri took the position in August 2011 after serving since 2007 as President of AMEC, an international project management company and service provider to the upstream and midstream (especially pipeline) industries. A native Houstonian, he is a mechanical engineer and began his career at KBR, an international supplier for the oil and gas industry.
Jesse Jenkins is Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute, and is one of the country's leading energy and climate policy analysts and advocates. Jesse's work and analysis has been featured in Time, Newsweek, Fortune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other major media outlets. He is founder and chief editor of WattHead - Energy News and Commentary and a featured writer at the Energy Collective.
To unsubscribe from this list, click here. This email wa

Westinghouse Statement Regarding U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

Westinghouse Statement Regarding U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Draft
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Small Modular Reactors
(SMR)


PITTSBURGH, Jan. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement is
attributable to Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of
Research and Technology of Westinghouse Electric Company Dr. Kate
Jackson.

"A draft Funding Opportunity Announcement to facilitate the
development and deployment of SMR technologies that offer affordable,
safe, secure and robust sources of zero-carbon energy was issued by
the U.S. Department of Energy yesterday. DOE plans to consider SMR
applications that incorporate passive safety features and that can be
licensed expeditiously, achieving a commercial operation date on a
domestic site by 2022.

"Westinghouse will apply for DOE's small modular reactor investment
funds with a consortium of utilities. Access to this investment fund
helps lower the barrier to market entry for American companies.
Virtually all energy sources that feed the national grid have been
developed through public investments in public-private research and
development partnerships.

"Westinghouse is well positioned to be the first to market with the
most economical small modular reactor. Our experience, capabilities,
and licensing expertise are a competitive advantage for our utility
partners and help to ensure a rapid deployment of operating plants.
The state in which our application partner is located will gain
significant economic-development benefits."

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation
(TKY:6502), is the world's pioneering nuclear energy company and is a
leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to
utilities throughout the world. Westinghouse supplied the world's
first pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa. Today,
Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the
world's operating nuclear plants, including 60 percent of those in the
United States.

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation
(TKY:6502), is the world's pioneering nuclear energy company and is a
leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to
utilities throughout the world.  Westinghouse supplied the world's
first pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa.  Today,
Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the
world's operating nuclear plants.

SOURCE Westinghouse Electric Company

Energy Department Takes First Step to Spur U.S. Manufacturing of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Energy Department Takes First Step to Spur U.S. Manufacturing of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

January 20, 2012 - 10:48am
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the first step toward manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the United States, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to advancing U.S. manufacturing leadership in low-carbon, next generation energy technologies and restarting the nation’s nuclear industry.  Through the draft Funding Opportunity Announcement announced today, the Department will establish cost-shared agreements with private industry to support the design and licensing of SMRs.
“America’s choice is clear - we can either develop the next generation of clean energy technologies, which will help create thousands of new jobs and export opportunities here in America, or we can wait for other countries to take the lead,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The funding opportunity announced today is a significant step forward in designing, manufacturing, and exporting U.S. small modular reactors, advancing our competitive edge in the global clean energy race.”
Small modular reactors, approximately one-third the size of current nuclear plants, have compact designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, siting, construction and economic benefits. Specifically, they could be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready to “plug and play” upon arrival, reducing both capital costs and construction times. The small size also makes SMRs ideal for small electric grids and for locations that cannot support large reactors, providing utilities with the flexibility to scale production as demand changes.
The draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) announced today solicits input from industry in advance of a full FOA, which will support first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing through a cost-shared partnership. The full FOA will fund up to two SMR designs with the goal of deploying these reactors by 2022.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s certification of Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 nuclear reactor design, which was supported through a cost-shared agreement with the Energy Department. The Department’s efforts, in coordination with the NRC and private industry, have helped American companies lead the way in obtaining certification and licensing approvals for new reactor designs, which will further streamline these processes for future investments in the U.S. nuclear industry.
For more information on SMRs, please visit the Office of Nuclear Energy website.

DOE takes first step to spur U.S. manufacturing of small modular nuclear reactors

DOE takes first step to spur U.S. manufacturing of small modular nuclear reactors

Westinghouse Statement Regarding U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

Westinghouse Statement Regarding U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

Feds To Finance Small Nuclear Reactor Designs

Feds To Finance Small Nuclear Reactor Designs

NRC New Nuclear Licensing Process

NRC New Nuclear Licensing Process

U.S. cedes the lead on nuclear energy

U.S. cedes the lead on nuclear energy

DOE Funding U.S. Manufacturing of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

DOE Funding U.S. Manufacturing of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Fukushima Accident Updates Has Unit #2 had a “phantom melt-through”?

Fukushima Accident Updates


Fukushima Accident Updates
The internet\\\'s top source of Fukushima accident updates. The Fukushima accident is the worst since Chernobyl. It\\\'s often called the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (3 times weekly; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.)
For prior updates dating back to March 12, 2011, please scroll to the bottom of each page and click the \\\"earlier posts\\\" button.

January 20
Has Unit #2 had a “phantom melt-through”?
TEPCO has made a brief endoscopic (visual) inspection inside the primary containment structure surrounding the unit two Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV). What seems surprising to TEPCO and the Japanese Press, is no indication of melted fuel outside the RPV. TEPCO spokesperson Junichi Matsumoto told Japan Times, “We could not spot any signs of fuel, unfortunately.” He added that the endoscopic device used for the inspection only looked at a small portion of the interior, so a better inspection technology and longer visual examinations should find evidence of melted fuel having leaked from the RPV. Or will they?
I suspect the problem is neither technological nor temporal. I have maintained since the Fukushima Daiichi control room records were released in July that unit #2 probably did not experience a full, core-relocating meltdown. Severe fuel damage inside the fuel cell is a given. From the operator records, it seems the fuel cell was completely uncovered and had no cooling water flow whatsoever for up to 5 hours. With unit #2 generating the lowest decay heat rate and after four days of continual decay heat reduction, that isn’t enough time for a total catastrophic meltdown! Some melting is probable in the upper, central portions of the core. Perhaps even the severe degree of melting found at TMI in 1984. But not the core-relocating event postulated by TEPCO. In other words, TEPCO can look all they want, and express as much disappointment as they wish for not finding evidence of RPV melt-through, but I believe they are chasing a phantom. A few corium drips solidified on the vessel-penetrating control rod mechanisms? Maybe. But a melt-through just doesn’t seem likely to me, and the preliminary endoscopic images taken yesterday only add fuel to my fire.
This blog is probably the singular place on the internet you will find this speculation….I’ve been looking diligently for months and have found this
assumption nowhere else. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it and ask that my crow be served medium rare with fries and plenty of ketchup. But,
that’s one meal I don’t think I’ll have to eat.

Help Next-Generation Nuclear Advance During Building Lull: View

Help Next-Generation Nuclear Advance During Building Lull: View

Update from the American Nuclear Society 12/20

American Nuclear Society

A win for Vermont Yankee

By dyurman on Jan 20, 2012 08:07 am

Federal District Court rules against efforts by the State of Vermont to assert regulatory authority over radiological safety issues By: Dan Yurman Efforts by the State of Vermont to regulate a nuclear reactor within its borders were struck down January … Continue reading
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Full agenda for National Nuclear Science Week 2012

By lscheele on Jan 20, 2012 01:15 am

National Nuclear Science Week—a weeklong celebration to focus local, regional and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science—has nearly arrived! From January 24-27, events and activities will be held across the country to recognize the benefits of nuclear science … Continue reading
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Photo Time!

By rmichal on Jan 20, 2012 01:00 am

This summer should see the first use of a nuclear-powered land vehicle—on Mars! On November 26, NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which includes a rover named Curiosity, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The MSL/Curiosity package is … Continue reading
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ANS Nuclear Cafe A win for Vermont Yankee

ANS Nuclear Cafe

A win for Vermont Yankee

Federal District Court rules against efforts by the State of Vermont to assert regulatory authority over radiological safety issues
By: Dan Yurman

A brief summary of the Vermont Yankee decision

A brief summary of the Vermont Yankee decision

A disclaimer: I am not a lawyer (although I play one on TV the internet); I do hold a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering however and have at least some basic ability to read indecipherable tomes. End disclaimer


Reading through the court decision rejecting the Vermont legislature's attempt to shut down Vermont Yankee through a pocket veto, several key points come up:

Fracking Quakes Shake the Shale Gas Industry

Fracking Quakes Shake the Shale Gas Industry
by Peter Fairley
Well shutdowns prompted by fracking-induced seismicity may inspire technology tweaks.
Read More »

OIG Investigation of NRC's Decision to Terminate Yucca Mountain

Thursday, January 19, 2012

China Economic Clout and Nuclear Expertise Invades Saudi Arabia

China Economic Clout and Nuclear Expertise Invades Saudi Arabia

The existential imperative and Iran’s nuclear scientists from Shadow Government by William Tobey

The existential imperative and Iran’s nuclear scientists

Federal judge: Vt. nuclear plant can remain open


Federal judge: Vt. nuclear plant can remain open

Judge Says Federal Law Pre-empts State's Effort To Close Yankee

Judge Says Federal Law Pre-empts State's Effort To Close Yankee

Small Is Beautiful—So Go Nuclear

Small Is Beautiful—So Go Nuclear

As environmentally friendly as they sound, biofuels and wind power squander land and other resources.

LLEWELLYN KING: AP1000 Approval A Triumphal Advance to the Frontier -- Nuclear is Again on the Move

LLEWELLYN KING: AP1000 Approval A Triumphal Advance to the Frontier --
Nuclear is Again on the Move

http://www.nucleartownhall.com

Nuclear Power as a Foundation for a Sustainable Energy Future

Nuclear Power as a Foundation for a Sustainable Energy Future
By
 Denise Carpenter, President and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Association, 18/01/2012

Fracking and Seismic Activity

Fracking and Seismic Activity

Can the World Phase Out Nuclear Power?

Boroscope at Fukushima Daiichi No. 2 inconclusive

atomic power review



Posted: 19 Jan 2012 10:51 AM PST
TEPCO has completed the first examination inside any of the primary containment vessels at Fukushima Daiichi, using a boroscope inserted into No. 2 plant's dry well. Below is a graphic explaining the location, practiced a few days back at No. 5 plant.

Tepco Update - Camera in Unit 2

They got a camera into unit 2 containment.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9-69OPtAkWgYzcxY2IxYTYtZDNjOC00NjdlLTkxZmEtZDc0NTRlNzJjYzBh

Federal District Court rules AGAINST Vermont Legislature in reactor case

Full text
 
http://www.vtd.uscourts.gov/Supporting%20Files/Cases/11cv99.pdf


Mindful that relief must be “narrowly tailored to fit specific legal violations,” City of N.Y. v. Mickalis Pawn Shop, LLC, 645 F.3d 114, 144 (2d Cir. 2011), the Court orders, for the reasons described in this opinion, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d), the following permanent injunctive relief:

1. Defendants are permanently enjoined, as preempted under the Atomic Energy Act, from enforcing Act 160 by bringing an enforcement action, or taking other action, to compel Vermont Yankee to shut down after March 21, 2012 because it failed to obtain legislative approval (under the provisions of Act 160) for a Certificate of Public Good for continued operation, as requested by Plaintiffs’ pending petition in Public Service Board Docket No. 7440, or in any subsequent petition. Case 1:11-cv-00099-jgm Document 181 Filed 01/19/12 Page 100 of 102 101

2. Defendants are permanently enjoined, as preempted under the Atomic Energy Act, from enforcing the single provision within section 6522(c)(4) of title 10, enacted as part of Act 74, stating “Storage of spent nuclear fuel derived from the operation of Vermont Yankee after March 21, 2012 shall require the approval of the general assembly under this chapter,” by bringing an enforcement action, or taking other action, to compel Vermont Yankee to shut down or to prevent storage of spent nuclear fuel after March 21, 2012 because it failed to obtain legislative approval (under the same preempted provision) for a Certificate of Public Good for storage of spent fuel, as requested by Plaintiffs’ pending petition in Public Service Board Docket No. 7440, or in any subsequent petition.

3. Defendants are permanently enjoined, as prohibited by the dormant Commerce Clause, from conditioning the issuance of a Certificate of Public Good for continued operation on the existence of a below-wholesale-market power purchase agreement between Plaintiffs and Vermont utilities, or requiring Vermont Yankee to sell power to Vermont utilities.

 

Gregory Jaczko: What the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Can Learn From Fukushima

Gregory Jaczko: What the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Can Learn From Fukushima

PBS Frontline Documentary on Indian Point Nuclear Reactor After Japanese Nuke Meltdown

PBS Frontline Documentary on Indian Point Nuclear Reactor After Japanese Nuke Meltdown

Keystone: front and center in the plan to bring down Obama

Keystone: front and center in the plan to bring down Obama

Thorium

Thorium

(Updated 11 November 2011) 
  • Thorium is more abundant in nature than uranium. 
  • It is fertile rather than fissile, and can be used in conjunction with fissile material as nuclear fuel. 
  • Thorium fuels can breed fissile uranium-233. 
The use of thorium as a new primary energy source has been a tantalizing prospect for many years. Extracting its latent energy value in a cost-effective manner remains a challenge, and will require considerable R&D investment.

Nature and sources of thorium

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant under NRC review

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant under NRC review

Radiation, rusty metal seen in tsunami-hit reactor

Radiation, rusty metal seen in tsunami-hit reactor

China to Aid Saudi Arabia in 'Peaceful' Nuclear Power Development

China to Aid Saudi Arabia in 'Peaceful' Nuclear Power Development

By Oilprice.com Jan 19, 2012 11:40 am

Many of the questions asked about Iran's civilian nuclear power program, such as why a leading petro-state needs nuclear energy, are unlikely to be asked about this particular venture.

Edano: Japan Bracing for Nuclear-Free Summer

Edano: Japan Bracing for Nuclear-Free Summer

A New source for Nuclear Plant news, INPO-WANO

A new source for Nuclear Plant news, INPO - WANO best practices, and solutions is here: http://inpowano.blogspot.com/

If you have news, want too add your opinion or read up on solutions and best practices, the site is updated daily.

From the NRC Blog: A Letter from Afghanistan Part II

U.S. NRC Blog

A Letter from Afghanistan Part II

by Moderator
Bob Carlson
Robert Carlson, a branch chief in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, is a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserves. In May, he was called to active duty to serve as the chief of staff for the U.S. Agency for International Development delegation in Kabul. Below is part of a recent letter he sent to work colleagues updating them about his experiences. His first letter can be found here .
 
Dear Friends –
Happy New Year! I hope this note finds you all doing well. As promised, I am sending you an update of my deployment to Afghanistan.
I’ve now been in Afghanistan approximately seven months of my year-long tour. Much has transpired since my last update back in August 2011. As you might expect, I have seen and experienced a lot during this timeframe that has left an indelible imprint on me regarding Afghanistan, war, working in an interagency and international organizational environment, and the physical/mental effects of wartime stress.
Hopefully by the end of this deployment my experiences and lessons learned here will serve me well when I return to assume future leadership positions within the military and NRC.
Since I last wrote, there have been many high-profile attacks and suicide bombings in Afghanistan. Before the Country Team staff meeting at the Embassy each Sunday morning the Ambassador conducts a roll call and a moment of silence for all the U.S. soldiers killed in action that week – often numbering in the dozens. This is a very sobering way to begin a staff meeting and helps to put things in perspective when we carry out our routine daily affairs.
The single largest attack involving U.S. forces was the downing of a Chinook helicopter this summer killing 30 Special Operations Forces members and eight Afghan soldiers during a planned night raid. Afterwards there was an emotionally charged ramp ceremony involving a very solemn memorial service for the fallen soldiers before they were boarded on a plane headed to the U.S. for final burial – extremely heart wrenching.
A few weeks after this event the Embassy where I’m located was assaulted for 20 continuous hours by insurgents who had overtaken an abandoned building near our compound and began firing down on us. My building took much small-arms fire and a direct RPG hit less than 40-meters from my office – definitely causing me to hit the deck and low-crawl to safety! Fortunately, our office walls and ceilings are reinforced with sandbags that help to mitigate the effects of shrapnel. No U.S. casualties from this attack – but there were a lot of frayed nerves (unfortunately approximately 20 Afghan civilians were killed in this attack).
There were several high-profile government assassinations involving the former Vice-President of Afghanistan, the Governor of Kandahar Province and President Karzai’s half-brother, and numerous other mayors and local officials. In many instances the assassination involved a suicide bomber wearing either an explosive laden vest or device hidden beneath a turban. In one sensational attack, the suicide bomber used a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) directly outside one of our combat outposts, completely obliterating many of the life-support structures within. The exterior blast walls of the compound withstood much of the explosion and deflected most of the shrapnel. However, the resultant concussion from the blast wave leveled many of the temporary structures within the compound.
Miraculously, although there were more than 70 casualties, only a few resulted in death. We visited the site shortly afterwards to survey the damage and visit with the soldiers. You can only marvel at and admire the courage, determination, and sense of duty these soldiers exhibited under these trying circumstances – unbelievable!
I continue to conduct missions with the Ambassador throughout the country. These missions are usually to visit our folks in the field, view infrastructure projects, meet with Afghan government officials, and attend ceremonial events. Our primary mode of transportation is fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft because of the long distances involved, hostile terrain, and the threat of IEDs. We also have a large entourage footprint when traveling due to the staff and security requirements of my boss, which often attracts unwanted attention – thus better to fly than drive.
As you can imagine, the grind of long hours and endless work weeks, being without family, and living in poor environmental and stressful wartime conditions can take its mental and physical toll on you after awhile. That said I see a light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to being home soon.
Bob Carlson

New Research to Show Natural Gas From Shale is Wrong Choice as "Bridge Fuel" to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission

New Research to Show Natural Gas From Shale is Wrong Choice as "Bridge Fuel" to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission




Data:  Natural Gas From Marcellus Shale and Other Sites Emits Even More Methane – the Worst Contributor to Greenhouse Gases – than Previously Thought.

Problems plague cleanup at Hanford nuclear waste site

Problems plague cleanup at Hanford nuclear waste site

Olympus endoscope scrutinizes leaking nuclear reactor

Olympus endoscope scrutinizes leaking nuclear reactor


TOKYO | Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:18am EST
(Reuters) - The operators of Japan's quake-crippled nuclear power plant looked inside one of the ruined reactors for the first time Thursday using an endoscope.

Nuclear-power shake-up

Nuclear-power shake-up

Judge rules that PG&E cannot pass costs of relicensing Diablo Canyon on to ratepayers. Meanwhile, the plant’s seismic vulnerability remains uncertain.

By

Ohio Earthquakes Underscore Fracking Dangers – OpEd

Ohio Earthquakes Underscore Fracking Dangers – OpEd

Dip in nuclear power support after Fukushima proves shortlived



Dip in nuclear power support after Fukushima proves shortlived

A new, exclusive opinion poll shows public support for replacing the UK's ageing nuclear plants has recovered, although some citizens are far less convinced than others

'India's nuclear plants highly safe & secure'

'India's nuclear plants highly safe & secure'

Blended waste decision now up for public comment

Blended waste decision now up for public comment

Hertel: Why Georgia needs nuclear power


Hertel: Why Georgia needs nuclear power

Posted: January 19, 2012 - 12:49am

'Substantial progress' at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station

'Substantial progress' at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station

Nuclear Power Comeback?

Nuclear Power Comeback?

Nuclear regulators applaud safety upgrades at Oconee plant

Nuclear regulators applaud safety upgrades at Oconee plant

Update from the American Nuclear Society 01/19 Covert bombing kills another Iranian nuclear scientist

American Nuclear Society

Covert bombing kills another Iranian nuclear scientist

By dyurman on Jan 19, 2012 01:00 am

It is the latest in a series of deadly attacks By Dan Yurman An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in Tehran on January 11 by a bomb that was magnetically attached to his car. A driver, who doubles as a … Continue reading
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fukushima Radiation Spreads Worldwide

Fukushima Radiation Spreads Worldwide

Former Frontline Science Advisor Blasts "Nuclear Aftershocks" from NEI Nuclear Notes by Eric McErlain

Former Frontline Science Advisor Blasts "Nuclear Aftershocks"

Germany and the Nuclear Self-Trap Conundrum from NEI Nuclear Notes by Mark Flanagan

Germany and the Nuclear Self-Trap Conundrum

China Economic Clout and Nuclear Expertise Invades Saudi Arabia

China Economic Clout and Nuclear Expertise Invades Saudi Arabia

Ever since the end of World War Two, the U.S. has come to regard Saudi Arabia as almost its exclusive oil producing enclave.

In February 1945, after the Yalta Conference with Soviet General Secretary Iosif Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on his way home U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud met aboard the New Orleans-class heavy cruiser U.S.S. Quincy in the Suez Canal’s Great Bitter Lake. During the meeting, instigated by Roosevelt, he and Ibn Saud concluded a secret agreement…
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Siemens Exec: Swapping German Nuclear Power For Renewables Could Cost $2.15 Trillion by 2030

Blog Post: Siemens Exec: Swapping German Nuclear Power For Renewables Could Cost $2.15 Trillion by 2030

Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource -- DOE

Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource -- DOE

"Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States -- DOE

"Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States -- DOE

This report from the Department of Energy Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United StatesPDFdated June 29, 2011 finds that tidal stream energy is one of the alternative energy sources that are renewable and clean. This project created a national database of tidal stream energy potential, as well as a GIS tool usable by industry in order to accelerate the market for tidal energy conversion technology.

Tidal currents are numerically modeled with the Regional Ocean Modeling System and calibrated with the available measurements of tidal current speed and water level surface. The performance of the model in predicting the tidal currents and water levels is assessed with an independent validation. 

The results of the regional assessment show that the state of Alaska (AK) contains the largest number of locations with considerably high kinetic power density, and is followed by, Maine (ME), Washington (WA), Oregon (OR), California (CA), New Hampshire (NH), Massachusetts (MA), New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), North and South Carolina (NC, SC), Georgia (GA), and Florida (FL). The average tidal stream power density at some of these locations can be larger than 8 kW/m2 with surface areas on the order of few hundred kilometers squared, and depths larger than 100 meters. The Cook Inlet in AK is found to have a substantially large tidal stream power density sustained over a very large area.

Saudi Arabia widens horizons

Saudi Arabia widens horizons

Pipeline decision a huge blow to U.S. energy security

American Oil And Gas Exploration Is Booming, And Capacity Utilization Is Now Higher Than 100% from Clusterstock by Eric Platt

American Oil And Gas Exploration Is Booming, And Capacity Utilization Is Now Higher Than 100%

Green Technology = Green Jobs?

Green Technology = Green Jobs?

DOE Reports: Tides, Waves Could Generate 15% of Nation’s Power by 2030

DOE Reports: Tides, Waves Could Generate 15% of Nation’s Power by 2030

Two reports assessing wave and tidal resources in the U.S. released today by the Department of Energy (DOE) suggest that water power—including conventional hydropower and wave, tidal, and other resources—could provide 15% of the nation’s electricity by 2030.

The two reports—"Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource" and "Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States"—were described by the DOE as “the most rigorous analysis undertaken to date to accurately define the magnitude and location of America's ocean energy resources.”

Updates from Nuclear Energy Insider 01/18

latest feature articles from Nuclear Energy Insider;

Industry Insight
Weekly Intelligence Brief 
Policy and Commission Update 
Exclusive Free Content
Enjoy the rest of your week,

Emma Tully

Nuclear Energy Insider
etully@nuclearenergyinsider.com


Take a look at our upcoming B2B conferences:

Nuclear Long-Term Operations and Aging Management Conference
February 23-24, 2012, Marriott Downtown, Columbia, South Carolina, USA

3rd Annual Nuclear Decommissioning Conference
April 17-18, 2012, Renaissance Hotel, Manchester, UK

Japan earthquake, other natural disasters cost $366 billion in 2011, UN says

    Japan earthquake, other natural disasters cost $366 billion in 2011, UN says 

China may resume approving nuke plants in H1 - media

China may resume approving nuke plants in H1 - media

Nuclear essential to French electro-intensive energy: Besson

Nuclear essential to French electro-intensive energy: Besson

Mitsubishi Heavy Predicts Restart for Japan Reactors

Mitsubishi Heavy Predicts Restart for Japan Reactors

Japan to allow reactors to operate up to 60 yrs

Japan to allow reactors to operate up to 60 yrs

US must remain leader in nuclear enrichment By Retired Gen. James L. Jones

US must remain leader in nuclear enrichment

By Retired Gen. James L. Jones

EDF Drops Opposition to Exelon-Constellation Deal

EDF Drops Opposition to Exelon-Constellation Deal

BizBreak: Babcock & Wilcox awarded $16 million contract

BizBreak: Babcock & Wilcox awarded $16 million contract

German shift from nuclear a Herculean task -execs

German shift from nuclear a Herculean task -execs

2nd Annual Small Modular Reactor Conference

2nd Annual Small Modular Reactor Conference

NRC wants details on Oconee Nuclear emergency safeguards

NRC wants details on Oconee Nuclear emergency safeguards

DOE looks at expanding research of small nuclear reactors Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/01/18/1987730/doe-official-looking-at-expanding.html#storylink=cpy

DOE looks at expanding research of small nuclear reactors


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/01/18/1987730/doe-official-looking-at-expanding.html#storylink=cpy

Investigation of Aging U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Reveals Some Scary Truths

Investigation of Aging U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Reveals Some Scary Truths

Obama turns down Keystone XL oil pipeline

Obama turns down Keystone XL oil pipeline The Obama administration has turned down the contentious Keystone XL pipeline project but will allow a revised application to be submitted, according to US lawmakers and lobby groups familiar with the decision.

The White House and the State Department, which is responsible for the ruling, refused to confirm any details on Wednesday afternoon but lawmakers, as well as energy industry and environmental lobbyists, were already predicting that the project would have to be modified.

http://link.ft.com/r/H60H77/2OKUY9/GKXE28/ZGVX86/97SKFQ/9A/h?a1=2012&a2=1&a3=18

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated
Fairewinds analyzes cancer rates for young children near Fukushima using the National Academy of Science's BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VII Report. Based on BEIR VII, Fairewinds determines that at least one in every 100 young girls will develop cancer for every year they are exposed to 20 millisieverts [millisievert (1 mSv = 0.001 Sv)] of radiation. The 20-millisievert/ year figure is what the Japanese government is currently calculating as the legal limit of radiological exposure to allow habitation of contaminated areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In this video, Fairewinds introduces additional analysis by Ian Goddard showing that the BEIR VII report underestimates the true cancer rates to young children living near Fukushima Daiichi. Looking at the scientific data presented by Mr. Goddard, Fairewinds has determined that at least one out of every 20 young girls (5%) living in an area where the radiological exposure is 20 millisieverts for five years will develop cancer in their lifetime.
Watch Video Now
 

End to low natural gas prices 'inevitable'

End to low natural gas prices 'inevitable'

Using Thorium to Satisfy Worldwide Energy Needs

Using Thorium to Satisfy Worldwide Energy Needs

A New Nuclear Revolution – Safe, Clean and Abundant

A New Nuclear Revolution – Safe, Clean and Abundant

A Fresh Look at Nuclear Power, from Fukushima to the Hudson

A Fresh Look at Nuclear Power, from Fukushima to the Hudson

Editorial: Gov't urged to clarify where radioactive gravel has been used

Editorial: Gov't urged to clarify where radioactive gravel has been used

Building contamination spreads / Radioactive materials used to repair road and waterway in Fukushima

Building contamination spreads / Radioactive materials used to repair road and waterway in Fukushima

Dip in nuclear power support after Fukushima proves shortlived

Dip in nuclear power support after Fukushima proves shortlived

A new, exclusive opinion poll shows public support for replacing the UK's ageing nuclear plants has recovered, although some citizens are far less convinced than others

Full Speed Ahead for China’s Nuclear Program

Full Speed Ahead for China’s Nuclear Program

Safety and Security Advantages of Small Nuclear Reactors

Safety and Security Advantages of Small Nuclear Reactors

Did the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Cause 14,000 U.S. Deaths or Not?

Did the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Cause 14,000 U.S. Deaths or Not?

Analysis: Not-so-covert Iran war buys West time, raises tension

Analysis: Not-so-covert Iran war buys West time, raises tension

The Mortal Threat From Iran

The Mortal Threat From Iran

Iran can sea-launch from off our coasts. Germany planned this in World War II. If cocaine can be smuggled into the U.S. without interdiction, we cannot dismiss the possibility of an Iranian nuke ending up in Manhattan.

Barak: Decision to attack Iran "very far off"

Barak: Decision to attack Iran "very far off"

US must remain leader in nuclear enrichment

US must remain leader in nuclear enrichment

Will Thorium Power the Globe?


Will Thorium Power the Globe? poweringthegrid.wordpress.com

Four times more abundant than uranium, there is apparently enough thorium available in known deposits to generate electricity for 10,000 years http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw&feat...

For The Money By Charley Urbanek

For The Money

By Charley Urbanek

Posted 1 day ago
You really do have to question why these people are persisting in writing and talking about how good windmills are. There’s not even that many still left around let alone them even operating on the old farm homestead anyway. I haven’t heard of any anti windmill groups or organized groups claiming that windmills caused health risks and problems even back when just about every farmer did use them to pump water. Also, certainly the little windmills people have as a lawn ornament today shouldn’t present much of a threat. Most I’ve seen are barely 5 feet tall.
However, if these people are confusing windmills with the Industrial Wind Turbines, you really have to question why they are defending them then. It’s been proven now they don’t stop Global Warming, are unreliable, is causing your hydro bill too rapidly increase, don’t increase jobs but rather decrease permanent jobs and aren’t even “Green”.

Are we on the Brink of an Energy Revolution? Andrea Rossi to Build 1MW Power Plant

Are we on the Brink of an Energy Revolution? Andrea Rossi to Build 1MW Power Plant

Using Thorium to Satisfy Worldwide Energy Needs

Using Thorium to Satisfy Worldwide Energy Needs

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Fresh Look at Nuclear Power, from Fukushima to the Hudson


A Fresh Look at Nuclear Power, from Fukushima to the Hudson

ENERGY TECH Iran warns Gulf states not to make up for oil ban

ENERGY TECH
Iran warns Gulf states not to make up for oil ban

China urges global energy cooperation

China urges global energy cooperation

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UPI) Jan 16, 2012
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for concerted efforts among countries to secure the world's energy supply. "To reduce the problems and inequality brought by the energy and resources issues, countries in the world should take further action and exert more effort," Wen said in a keynote speech Monday at the opening of the Fifth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

China, Saudi Arabia Ink Atomic Collaboration Deal

China, Saudi Arabia Ink Atomic Collaboration Deal

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes New reactor deals for the new year Jordan short lists three firms and selects six potential sites for a $5 billion project

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes

New reactor deals for the new year

Jordan short lists three firms and selects six potential sites for a $5 billion project

 

Blog Post: Interview with National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Director Jim Walther On The Upcoming National Nuclear Science Week

Blog Post: Interview with National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Director Jim Walther On The Upcoming National Nuclear Science Week

USEC’s American Centrifuge R&D May Be Funded Through March as DOE Negotiations Continue from Nuclear Power Industry News by Nuclear Street News

USEC’s American Centrifuge R&D May Be Funded Through March as DOE Negotiations Continue

Blog Post: AP1000 Nuclear Plant Construction Still On Schedule in China

AP1000 Nuclear Plant Construction Still On Schedule in China

After Fukushima, emergency back-up equipment recommended for US nuclear reactors

After Fukushima, emergency back-up equipment recommended for US nuclear reactors

IEA: Nuclear phase-outs threaten surge in coal emissions

IEA: Nuclear phase-outs threaten surge in coal emissions

Mitsubishi Heavy Predicts Restart for Japan Reactors

Mitsubishi Heavy Predicts Restart for Japan Reactors

EDF optimistic about nuclear power in the U.S.

EDF optimistic about nuclear power in the U.S.

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant May Be Downgraded

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant May Be Downgraded

This is Not Your Fathers Nuclear Power Plant

This is Not Your Fathers Nuclear Power Plant

ichael Graetz’s “The End of Energy” Surveys 40 Years of Energy Policy-- And It Isn’t Pretty.

Michael Graetz’s “The End of Energy” Surveys 40 Years of Energy Policy-- And It Isn’t Pretty.

Electricity Declines 50% as Shale Spurs Natural Gas Glut: Energy

Electricity Declines 50% as Shale Spurs Natural Gas Glut: Energy


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/01/17/bloomberg_articlesLXVBKF07SXKX01-LXX2M.DTL#ixzz1jkif3KRk

How Much Electricity Does My State Generate From Nuclear?

How Much Electricity Does My State Generate From Nuclear?

NEI Nuclear Notes On Frontline, Nuclear Aftershocks and Renewing the Operating License at Indian Point

NEI Nuclear Notes

On Frontline, Nuclear Aftershocks and Renewing the Operating License at Indian Point

NEI Nuclear Notes Some Notes On Frontline, Indian Point and Emergency Preparedness

NEI Nuclear Notes

Some Notes On Frontline, Indian Point and Emergency Preparedness

Japan trade min:IAEA officials to visit this month

Japan trade min:IAEA officials to visit this month

TOKYO | Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:02pm EST
TOKYO Jan 17 (Reuters) - Trade minister Yukio Edano said on Tuesday that officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would visit Japan in late January to review reactor stress test assessments by the nation's nuclear watchdog.

On "Frontline" and "Nuclear Aftershocks"

On "Frontline" and "Nuclear Aftershocks"

My colleague, John Keeley, asked that I share the following note with our readers:
On January 17, PBS’ "Frontline" program will air "Nuclear Aftershocks," a documentary which purports to examine “the hazards and benefits of nuclear power.” Former CNN science reporter Miles O’Brien, with 30 years of journalism experience covering space, science and technology, leads the investigation and analysis for the program. O’Brien is a solid journo with a reputation for resisting the melodramatic and sensational in favor of substantive and balanced pieces. Would that we’d seen more of that among O’Brien’s broadcast peers covering Fukushima last spring.

Before giving Davis-Besse another 20-year operating license, crack the case of the cracks: editorial

Before giving Davis-Besse another 20-year operating license, crack the case of the cracks: editorial

What Will Become Of TVA's Nuclear Waste?

What Will Become Of TVA's Nuclear Waste?

U.S. envoy reiterates pledge to support Japan as it rebuilds

U.S. envoy reiterates pledge to support Japan as it rebuilds

DOE WANTS TO RESTORE INFO TO "RESTRICTED DATA" STATUS

DOE WANTS TO RESTORE INFO TO "RESTRICTED DATA" STATUS

The Department of Energy has asked Congress to amend the Atomic Energy Act to allow certain nuclear weapons information that has been removed from the "Restricted Data" classification category to be restored to that category.

"Restricted Data" (RD) pertains to classified nuclear weapons design information.  It is distinguished from "Formerly Restricted Data" (FRD) which generally concerns the utilization of nuclear weapons.  (Despite the use of the word "formerly," FRD is also a category of classified information.)

In a letter to Congress requesting the proposed amendment, Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested that the current arrangement leaves some nuclear weapons design information inadequately protected.

"There is sensitive nuclear weapons design information embodied in some FRD... that should be subject to the more stringent security protections afforded RD now than current programmatic capabilities of DoD and the Intelligence Community permit," Secretary Chu wrote in an August 4, 2011 letter that was released last week.  Energy Department officials did not respond to a request from Secrecy News for elaboration on this point.

But in a July 2010 statement to the Public Interest Declassification Board, Andrew Weston-Dawkes of the Department of Energy Office of Classification said that FRD today contains not only information on nuclear weapons utilization but also "some of the most sensitive design information."  Specifically, he said that FRD includes design information on "safing arming and fuzing, use control information, [and] hardening."

Such design information was removed from the RD category in order "to support the mission requirements of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community," Secretary Chu explained in his letter.  But once removed, the information by law cannot be redesignated as RD without an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act.  Hence the DOE proposal to Congress.

The immediate implications of the proposal are probably quite limited, particularly since it applies only to "design information" and "foreign nuclear information" that is currently classified in any case (albeit as FRD or "TFNI," for Transclassified Foreign Nuclear Information).

In the longer term, the authority to reclassify certain narrow categories of FRD as RD, if granted, may help to reduce DOE opposition to the elimination of the entire FRD category -- which critics including the Federation of American Scientists have advocated -- and its integration into the normal national security classification system.

The Public Interest Declassification Board, an advisory body on classification and declassification policy, has proposed that FRD records that are more than 25 years old should be treated like any other classified records for purposes of declassification review and processing.

But these changes would also require legislative action, which has not been requested by DOE.  Nor has Congress acted on Secretary Chu's August 2011 proposal to date.

*       *       *

On January 10, the White House announced the appointment of Amb. Nancy E. Soderberg as chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board and the re-appointment of Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker as a member of the Board.

"Restricted Data" is the name of an informative new blog written by historian Alex Wellerstein "about nuclear secrecy, past and present."  It often features fascinating archival discoveries along with the author's historical insights.

"Born Secret" by Alexander DeVolpi, et al, is a thoughtful and meticulous account of the 1979 "Progressive" case in which the U.S. government sought to prevent the publication of H-Bomb design information gathered by researcher Howard Morland.  It has recently been reissued as an e-book.

Proposed Indian Nuclear Power Plant in Zone Subject to Earthquakes

Proposed Indian Nuclear Power Plant in Zone Subject to Earthquakes

New Fukushima Investigation Promises to Dig Deeper Into Nuclear Crisis


New Fukushima Investigation Promises to Dig Deeper Into Nuclear Crisis

Spanish Town Cheers New Nuclear Waste Plant by Lauren Frayer

Spanish Town Cheers New Nuclear Waste Plant

What if the Iranians start killing scientists?

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/what-if-the-iranians-start-killing-scientists-1.407511

What if the Iranians start killing scientists?
The next phase of the assassination war is liable to turn
international scientific conferences into arenas of assassination.
By Avner Cohen

Why does Rep. Markey oppose natural gas exports?

Why does Rep. Markey oppose natural gas exports?

California High Speed Rail and Keystone XL Pipeline

Energy news in China, Ukraine, United States and Germany

from the NR Blog A Day in the Life of a Resident Inspector

U.S. NRC Blog

A Day in the Life of a Resident Inspector

by Moderator
Amar Patel
It is said that the resident inspector job is the greatest job in the NRC. You are the front-line eyes and ears of the agency, you can clearly see the impact you provide with regard to nuclear safety, and your boss is far away on the phone! For the last 3 ½ years, I have had the chance to prove that adage true.
The job of a resident inspector at the Hope Creek Nuclear Plant, located in southern New Jersey next to the Salem Nuclear Station, is unique for several reasons. The site is close to a metropolitan area (Wilmington, DE), but the winding rural roads leading to the site make for a considerable drive to work. Once I reach the parking lot, it still remains quite a trek to my desk. That’s because the site is sprawling, and the pre- and post-9/11 security measures necessitate a long walk through checkpoints with armed security guards.
The inherent nature of the resident inspector’s job makes for an early start. I need to provide plant status and safety information to NRC Region I management on a call that starts at 7:30 a.m. To get that information, I either visit the control room or attend a “Plan of the Day” meeting. In the control room, I speak with the licensed operators, examine their logs, and review the control room panels.
After communicating with the regional office, the senior resident inspector and I discuss possible inspection activities for the day. The Reactor Oversight Process prescribes the inspections we must perform and the frequency they must be performed. However, the company’s work schedule dictates what inspection opportunities may present themselves on any given day; emergent equipment problems also adjust our priorities. The inspections selected are done considering the risk significance of the activity; if two similar activities are ongoing, I choose the activity with greater safety significance. The results of our inspection work are discussed with company management on a periodic basis -- or immediately if a safety issue arises -- and are documented in a publicly available inspection report on a quarterly basis.
The greatest thing about the Hope Creek Resident Inspector Office is that it is co-located with the Salem Resident Inspector Office. Thus I have four other co-workers to speak with and bounce questions off of versus the usual two. I work with three inspectors and an ever-pleasant office assistant. We work well together as a team and have a high degree of camaraderie. We also have visiting specialist inspectors almost every week, which keeps us current on issues in the office and the industry.
My favorite element of inspection work involves plant “walkdowns.” They allow me to see the most about the plant’s design, construction, and operation, and generate many ideas for follow-up inspection activities. They also allow me to observe workers actually performing their jobs. On rare occasions, these workers will have concerns with certain work activities and will bring them to my attention. They are handled by the NRC allegations process. My interaction with the worker is critical in making them feel comfortable in raising a concern, and reassuring them that the NRC will be responsive to their concern.
Overall, the job of an NRC resident inspector is great. While I joined the NRC out of college as an engineer and received extensive training my first two years on the job, I continue to have opportunities to get top-notch training to help me do my job better or prepare me for another position in the NRC. (The NRC’s current Executive Director for Operations began his career as a resident inspector at this site.) I also have the opportunity to inspect other sites periodically, and I have a high degree of job satisfaction.
And I know that every day I am working to keep the community around the plant safe.
Amar Patel
Resident Inspector, Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plant